ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Gerrit Cole got his fifth win after setting a career-long scoreless streak, DJ LeMahieu and Gleyber Torres hit back-to-back home runs, and the New York Yankees beat the Texas Rangers 4-2 on Thursday night.
The series opener marked Aaron Judge’s first game in Texas since breaking Roger Maris’ single-season American League record with his 62nd homer at the Rangers’ ballpark in October. Judge struck in his only two at-bats in his return before departing because of right hip discomfort.
“Just a little grab in the hip area. After that headfirst dive the other night, just kind of whole right side has been a little locked up,” Judge said. “It wasn’t until the second-to-last swing of that at-bat I felt something grab, and they thought it would kind of best just to shut it down and see how we feel after a couple of days.”
Manager Aaron Boone said Judge would be re-evaluated Friday, but that initially there were no tests planned for the Yankees captain and reigning AL MVP.
On his 31st birthday Wednesday in Minnesota, Judge jammed his right hand, and apparently entire right side, on an awkward slide while trying to steal a base in Minnesota. He had three hits and drove in three runs in that game.
Cole’s scoreless streak reached 25 2/3 innings before the Rangers scored on Jonah Heim’s fielder’s choice grounder in the sixth. That was a potential inning-ending double play, but Cole was unable to keep the ball in his glove when going over to cover first base. Ezequiel Duran followed with an infield single to drive in a run.
“I need to make that play. I’m capable of making that play,” Cole said. “Obviously was pretty tough, but I felt really good about continuing to make our pitches and pitching into the type of contact that we we wanted to get, and eventually went our way and we got out of there with the lead.”
Andrew Heaney (2-2) struck out six and walked one over six innings for Texas, which has a season-long four-game losing streak and dropped into a tie with Houston for the AL West lead.
With his eight strikeouts, Cole (5-0) pushed his season total to 44 Ks, one more than Rangers ace Jacob deGrom for the AL lead. Cole allowed two runs over 6 2/3 innings, increasing his season ERA from 0.79 to 1.11.
Michael King pitched the final 2 1/3 innings for his first save.
Former Rangers catcher Jose Trevino homered in the ninth for New York.
Heaney had back-to-back strikeouts of Judge and Anthony Rizzo in both the first and second innings. The bases were loaded with one out in the second, after the back-to-back homers by LeMahieu and Torres, when the Yankees’ No. 2 and 3 hitters both struck out again.
After Torres hit a 443-foot homer to straightaway center, Oswald Peraza was hit by a pitch and eventually scored on Anthony Vople’s single that loaded the bases and made it 3-0. Heaney retired the next 13 batters, then hit Peraza with a pitch again before he was caught stealing to end the sixth.
“After a bump in the road he hit in the second inning, he reset and did a great job,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “Probably missed some spots there, they took advantage. But overall, that’s a good effort.”
The game was played in 2 hours, 9 minutes, the quickest nine-inning game ever played at Globe Life Field, which opened in 2009. … Rangers leadoff batter Marcus Semien had two hits to stretch his on-base streak to 13 games.
Yankees: Boone said RHP Jonathan Loáisiga (right elbow inflammation), who resumed playing catch last week, was sore after throwing Wednesday and that it was unlikely that he would throw off a mound this weekend. … RHP Luis Severino (right lat strain) is expected to throw his third live BP session in nine days Friday.
Rangers: 3B Josh Jung (bruised left hand) and OF Travis Jankowski (left hip tightness) were both out of the lineup a day after exiting the series finale in Cincinnati. Jung was hit by a pitch and Jankowski got hurt chasing a fly ball. Both could be back Friday.
DeGrom (2-0, 3.04 ERA), who has 43 strikeouts and only three walks, gets a chance take back the AL strikeout lead when he starts Friday night. The right-hander, who signed a $185 million, five-year contract with Texas in free agency last December, is 2-0 with a 1.57 ERA in his last four starts since allowing a career-high six extra-base hits on opening day. It will be deGrom’s first start against the Yankees since Aug. 13, 2018.